In Your Glass: Dry January Never Tasted Better

If you’re one of the 35% of adults of legal drinking age who are participating in Dry January (according to drink-research firm CGA), you’re probably starting to feel pretty good right now. 

You might be sleeping better, thinking more clearly and feeling healthier. Your wallet probably feels better, too. But you might also be missing the experience of a well-crafted cocktail or pint.

Fortunately, there has never been a better time to dive into the nonalcoholic-beverage scene. More bartenders can whip up a tasty, alcohol-free cocktail than ever before; craft breweries have brought the quality of NA (nonalcoholic) beer a long way from the O’Doul’s and Sharp’s days; and you can even find passable versions of gin, tequila and rum on the shelves of some local grocery and liquor stores. 

Alcohol-free beers have come a long way in recent years.

In just five years, Athletic Brewing Company – the first brewery dedicated exclusively to making NA beer – has redefined what nonalcoholic beer can taste like, and its Run Wild IPA actually tastes similar to an IPA. Closer to home, Untitled Art of Waunakee, Wisconsin, is changing NA expectations with a no-alcohol Juicy IPA, Chocolate Milk Stout, and Florida Wiesse passion fruit puree. 

Then there’s cocktailing. We reached out to Sister Bay native Anders Erickson for a mocktail recipe, and conveniently, he had just posted his latest video to his YouTube channel featuring four great mocktail recipes. Erickson – who got his start behind the bar at the late, great T. Ashwell’s in Ellison Bay – now boasts more than 386,000 subscribers to that channel, where he posts new recipes for classic cocktails as well as new creations. 

Here we feature the Little Thyme Off, a refreshing cocktail made with a thyme-infused simple syrup. Check out the full video on the Anders Erickson YouTube channel, where you can subscribe for weekly happy-hour inspiration – after Jan. 31, of course. 

A Little Thyme Off. Submitted.

A Little Thyme Off 

1 oz lemon juice
1 oz thyme-infused simple syrup (see recipe below)
4-5 oz Fever Tree ginger beer
Thyme sprigs and lemon wheel for garnish

Thyme-infused Simple Syrup

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
20 fresh thyme sprigs

Over low heat, combine the sugar and water, and stir to dissolve. Add the fresh thyme, and simmer for 10 minutes (but don’t boil!). Once the syrup has cooled, remove the thyme sprigs and strain the syrup to catch any little thyme bits.